Man in Black Sentencing 19 Feb 14

A sentencing date has been set for the “Man in Black” bank robber after many months of delays, but another round of filings by the incarcerated criminal could lead to even more delays in the 2-year-old case.

51-year-old Mark Edward Wetsch, who changed his name to Sheikh Bilaal Muhammad Arafat while in custody, was arrested in January of 2012 in St. Peter after allegedly robbing a bank in Brewster.

During a plea hearing last May, Wetsch admitted to stealing around $110,000 from 31 banks across Minnesota, including St. Peter and Gaylord.

Prosecutors requested a 14-year prison sentence, however since that time, Wetsch backed out of the plea deal and has filed dozens of motions to delay his sentencing. He claims he was coerced into accepting the plea agreement.

The judge in the case has now denied his motions to withdraw the guilty pleas, and a sentencing date has been set for March 7th.

Wetsch has been in the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River since his arrest.